Popocatepetl (commonly referred to as El Popo or Don Goyo) is an active volcano and the second highest peak in Mexico after the Pico de Orizaba (5,610m). Popocatepetl comes from the Nahuatl words popoca 'it smokes' and tepetl 'mountain', thus Smoking Mountain. Popocatepetl is linked to the Iztaccíhuatl volcano to the north by the high saddle known as the Paso de Cortes.
Popo is currently active. A major eruption occurred in 1947 to begin this cycle of activity. Then, on December 21, 1994 the volcano spewed gas and ash which was carried as far as 25 km away by prevailing winds. The activity prompted the evacuation of nearby towns and scientists to begin monitoring for an eruption. In December 2000, tens of thousands of people were evacuated by the government based on the warnings of scientists. The volcano then made its largest display in thousands of years.
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